Going completely indulgent for this one but enjoying food is one of the many great pleasures in life and one of the few things we still have to enjoy during the current pandemic lockdown.Also this might be a scrumptious recipe to try over the Easter and especially f there is lots of chocolate around!! No baking required and although there may seem like quite a few steps, it’s just because there are a few different layers. This means all the more mixing bowls and spoons to lick clean after!!! Have fun, happy making and sharing!! Beannachtaí na Cásca oraibh.

Please follow ‘Biabites’ on Facebook for other food ideas especially in the ‘Fun food’ and ‘Recipes’ albums.Please follow @BiaBites on twitter.For nutrition talks/workshops at events or in schools/workplaces/community groups= please email:niamh@biabites.netNiamh Arthurs BSc, Msc Registered Dietitian and Researcher.

Ingredients:

600g dark chocolate digestive biscuits
300g butter
75g peanuts
100g dark chocolate

For the caramel:

75g caster sugar
120g butter
400g (approx-397g is fine!!) tin sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon golden syrup

{Alternatively for convenience, use a 400g tin (OR 397g as available in shops) of caramel.}

Method:

Grease or pre-line a non-stick springform based tin.To make the biscuit base: place the biscuits in a strong bag that can be tied and can withstand the force of a rolling pin!
(I use an empty breakfast cereal bag). Bash the biscuits using a rolling pin or other utensils until they form fine crumbs.Alternatively you could blitz the biscuits in a food processor/blender.Melt the butter in a saucepan. Take off the heat and stir in the biscuit crumbs until well mixed.Tip the biscuit mixture into the tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon to make a smooth and even surface.Place in the fridge to chill while making the caramel.To make the caramel: gently melt the sugar, butter, condensed milk and golden syrup in a saucepan.Then increase the heat until just below the boil and stir vigorously using a whisk for approximately 15 minutes as the sauce changes colour from a lighter to a darker brown and thickens. If clumping starts to occur, remove from the heat and whisk vigorously to combine again. Allow the caramel to cool slightly as it will thicken further as it cools. Then pour the caramel over the biscuit base. Place in the refrigerator to cool fully.(If using a tin of caramel instead, then skip step 5 and 6 and just pour the already made caramel over the biscuit base and place in the refrigerator to harden. Finely chop the peanuts. Sprinkle on top of the caramel. Melt the chocolate and pour on top of the peanuts (ensure the caramel has cooled fully), making a creative design! I did a zig-zag drizzle as in the image! White chocolate could also be melted and used to decorate it! Store in an airtight container.

Please follow ‘Biabites’ on Facebook for other food ideas especially in the ‘Fun food’ and ‘Recipes’ albums. Please follow @BiaBites on twitter. For nutrition talks/workshops at events or in schools/workplaces/community groups= please email: niamh@biabites.net Niamh Arthurs BSc, Msc Registered Dietitian and Researcher.

by Ciaran Russell

How a person gains or loses weight comes down to one simple principle, Energy Balance.
Energy balance simply means the amount of Calories you expend in comparison to the Calories you consume. Calories in Calories out. In order to lose weight you need to be in a Calorie deficit, ie. you need to consume less than you expend. To gain weight you need to be in a Calorie surplus meaning you need to consume more than you burn.If your goal is weight loss, it will help to have an idea of how much Calories you are burning on a given day. This is known as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). Although there are general guidelines about how many Calories you burn daily, everyone’s TDEE will be specific to them. This is impacted by a number of factors including; age, gender, height, weight and level of physical activity.Once you have an idea of how much energy you use in a day, you can then reduce your Calories in order to put yourself in a small Calorie deficit so that you can lose weight.Your TDEE is made up of 4 components; Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) and Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT).In short, your BMR is the amount of energy you use at rest; NEAT is unplanned exercise such as walking to the shop or taking the stairs instead of the lift; TEF is the energy that is needed for digestion, transport, storage and absorption of food; and EAT is your planned exercise such as sports training, gym sessions or running.Put simply if you want to lose weight you must be in a Calorie deficit but for some it can be very difficult due to various complex reasons and essentially it’s more of a discussion around behaviour and habit changes. If you would like to drop a few pounds, find out your TDEE, work on creating a Calorie deficit, increase your level of activity and maybe find a coach to help you if needed. The overall aim is to create a healthier more active lifestyle so you can enjoy doing the things you love to do.

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By Dave Kavanagh

When compared to home-owners, people who rent where they live can be a lot more vulnerable. Apart from the obvious points, like rents being increased or having to move out if a property is being sold, there are other potential events that could prove problematic for renters. For home owners, an unexpected temporary loss of income, whether due to illness or occupational difficulty, may mean that they need to make an arrangement with their lender until their income returns to normal. Even in the event of a fatality, the mortgage protection in place will clear the mortgage, leaving the surviv-ing partner (if there is one) not worrying about mortgage payments. Renters don’t usually have any such protection in place. If a loss of income meant rent could not be paid, they would most likely be evicted. With the current levels of rent so high, if one of a couple renting passed away, it may not be affordable on one income. So, can renters protect against such eventualities?Yes, firstly, having income protection in place, which pays out an income if someone cannot work due to illness or inju-ry and suffers a loss of income, would make sure that rent could still be afforded, preventing a pos-sible eviction. Also, in the same way that home-owners have life cover in place to clear a mortgage in the event of a fatality, renters can do the same, with the payout allowing them to purchase their own property mortgage free. Serious illness cover also pays out a lump sum on diagnosis of one of the specified illnesses, which could also be hugely helpful to renters. Premiums for such cover plans, especially for younger renters can be a lot cheaper than people often think. If you rent, it would be clever to give some thought to these.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing info@financialcompanion.ie or use the contact form on www.financialcompanion.ie or phone 087-6414570, or @Davekav_advice on Twitter and Instagram. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation. As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.

by Malahide Historical Society

Fingal County Council have recently done a splendid job on the landscaping of the Green which has a long history in Malahide.Thanks to Michael Ingoldsby who grew up in a house facing the Green we have a picture of what it used be like in the last century. It was, for a very long time, part of the Malahide Estate with Lord Talbot de Malahide as the freehold owner. It was usual, deep into the winter for horses and carts to be sent down by Lord Talbot at the Castle laden with logs and branches of trees and kindling. This was all dumped onto the Green and was for the people to take and to use for their fires. At Christmas, carts of holly and mistletoe were unloaded onto the Green to be taken by anyone who wanted it for Christmas decoration.When the coastguard were in operation (up until about 1922) there was a flagpole on the Green on which the Union Jack was flown daily. The Green was somewhat smaller and a slightly different shape then, before reclamation in the latter part of the 20th century. The side by the water was used by fishermen to dry and mend their nets and there were houses on the other three sides. A low bank ran between the grass and road on the Townyard Lane side. Sailing boats and small coasters carrying coal came up the estuary on the high flooding tide and sat on the hard sand off the Green when the tide later ran out. The coal was unloaded over the side into horse-drawn carts and taken over the hard sand, on to the Green and into Flower & McDonald’s coalyard which was on Strand Street or to the gasworks in Gasyard Lane. There was a small cinema “The Gem” roughly where Tesco Express is today. Michael relates that a Mr. Dunne, an old man of small stature, in leather boots and leather leggings used to herd a flock of geese down from his yard in the centre of New Street onto The Green. They spent the day there feeding and then in the evening he came and walked them back up New Street for the night. There was a water pump at the corner of the Green near the end of New Street surrounded by four stone posts which were known as the “chatting pillars”, indicating how the water pump was central to the social life of the village. In the evening the local men used to stand under the adjoining lamp standard to play “Pitch and Toss”.

Some of you may have given up sweet foods for lent. Some of you may be trying to cut back on sweet foods as part of healthy eating plans or goals or new year’s resolutions.Or some of you may just like trying out new food ideas and recipes!!! This recipe is super quick, easy and you can tailor it to your taste preferences or to whatever is in your kitchen cupboards!! I love the crunch that the dried edamame beans or nuts provide in this recipe and the richness of the dark chocolate. It is also very satisfying and filling. Edamame Beans are green soya beans which have become very popular due to their nutritious properties including high levels of protein and fibre which can help to keep us fuller for longer.
Edamame Beans also contain vitamins A, K and folate, and are good sources of calcium, manganese and iron. If you don’t have or like edamame beans, you could use nuts or seeds or dried fruit instead in this recipe!

Ingredients:

200g Dried Edamame Beans OR nuts OR seeds OR a combination with some dried fruit!!!
200g GOOD Quality dark chocolate (Please Note: When I state good quality dark chocolate, it does not need to be expensive. Most supermarkets have good quality dark chocolate at reasonable prices. The difference is how the chocolate melts and reforms. Good quality dark chocolate will melt smoothly and reform into a smooth bark. The not so good quality chocolate may turn lumpy and crumbled!)

Tip: I love the bright green colour of the dried edamame beans which makes them stand out against the dark chocolate but for a variety of colours, use a mixture of different coloured dried fruits, nuts, seeds etc.

You could even do an Irish flag theme for St Patrick’s Day with green pistachios or pumpkin seeds, orange apricots and white coconut chips or flakes!

Method:

  1. Spread out a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray or lunchbox.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate either: in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and stir intermittently until just about all the chocolate is melted, OR in the microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each one. Please stand by the chocolate whichever way you melt it, have patience, don’t forget to stir and be careful not to overdo it!
  3. Pour the melted dark chocolate onto the pre-lined tray/lunchbox and spread it into a rectangle. Do not let any condensation or water droplets fall onto the melted dark chocolate as they do not mix well!
  4. Scatter over the dried edamame beans OR nuts OR seeds or fruit. Allow it to cool and set at room temperature for a few hours. 5. When hardened, break up the bark into pieces or use a sharp knife to cut it neatly into squares, triangles or however you like!!

Store within an airtight container and use within 2 weeks. Bain sult as (=Enjoy)!!!!

Please follow ‘Biabites’ on Facebook for other food ideas especially in the ‘Fun food’ and ‘Recipes’ albums. Please follow @BiaBites on twitter. For nutrition talks/workshops at events or in schools/workplaces/community groups= please email: niamh@biabites.net Niamh Arthurs BSc, Msc Registered Dietitian and Researcher.

by Siobhán O’Neill White

Whether you live with her, haven’t seen her in a while due to lockdown or if she has sadly passed away, March is a time for remembering and thanking our wonderful Mammies for everything they have done for us.When we asked the Mammies on mams.ie what gift they would like this year, the most suggested was hampers! Between homeschooling, keeping the family fed and safe - with all the cooking and cleaning that entails, Mammies just want a break! Whether it’s skincare, bath products, yummy food, sparkly drinks – hampers are a fabulous way to treat your Mammy this Mother’s day and here are some of our favourites. The breakfast hamper from GiftsandTreats.ie is a super treat. Fresh bread, zesty orange juice, scones, tea, coffee, cake, chocolate and flowers. The perfect breakfast in bed! There are also lots of great websites yuu should check out. The Love = Love hamper from the GreenGrocersDaughters website comes with chocolates, cheese, wine, prosecco, onion jam, candles and beautiful bunting, which can be hung up after all the wine and chocolates are devoured! The ‘Days Out’ hamper from the hampersandco website is perfect for a picnic! Set out a blanket and enjoy some outdoor family time with yummy food! The website YourSurprise. has clever gifting ideas, from champagne glasses to teddybears. We love their personalised Toberlones! The website GreenAngel make beautiful skincare gift sets. These Irish made products feel gorgeous and smell amazing! On a budget? Check out the sweetliving website for luxury chocolate bars, which can be personalised. But as any Irish Mammy will tell you, we don’t care about the cost of the gift. You could make a hamper with budget items from your local supermarket. Or simply do something nice, like vacuum the house and run her a bath to ensure she has a relaxing day. One of my favourite Mother’s day gifts was a salad sandwich my children made me for breakfast in bed. The butter was an inch thick, the tomato slices huge and the bread tasted of ‘hands’ (parents of young children will understand!) It was inedible but so thoughtful and is a treasured Mother’s day memory. If you would like to enter some competitions to try and win something fabulous for your Mammy or you want more gifting ideas, go to mams.ie.

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With our fitness Guru Ciaran Russell

Being physically active is important. Not only does being active have physical benefits for your body but also has positive mental health benefits.People that are more physically active tend to have fewer illnesses, get sick less, have more energy, feel better about themselves and others, and contribute more to their community. But with such a range of positive benefits, why do so many people stay inactive or sedentary? Simple, because it’s easier! It’s easier to jump in the car to go to the shop. It’s easier to sit on the sofa instead of going for a walk. It’s easier to take the lift instead of the stairs. It’s easier drop the kids to school instead of walking, cycling or scooting.But it’s different for me; I’m tired, I don’t have the energy, I had a tough day or week. Sound familiar? If this was your response ask yourself why. So then ask yourself who would you be without that story, or those excuses.To be an active person you don’t have to go running the roads every day of the week, you don’t even need a gym membership or be a member of a sports club.The best part? You get to decide how you become more active, you get to figure out what you love to do to be a healthy person. It’s your choice.Maybe you love walking at sunrise listening to your favourite podcast. Maybe you really enjoy doing yoga when the kids are gone to bed.However you like to stay active, do that! Physical activity isn’t just about taking part in organised sport or exercise. It’s about being an active person as often as you can.Organise a walk with a friend. Take the stairs. Park further away. Walk to the shop. Clean the house.Every time you choose to move your body is a positive step towards becoming more active.Your health is important so why not start prioritising it today while you have the choice before it becomes necessary to prioritise it later in life.

By Dave Kavanagh

I wrote a piece a couple of years ago following a series of interactive talks I had given to a number of groups. I had broken each group into small working groups and set them a task, to work out ap-propriate levels of life cover for a 35 year old couple with 2 young children, where “John” was in full time employment and “Mary” was a homemaker with no source of income. I gave a few basic details such as income, mortgage balance, loans and savings etc. and although there were varying levels of cover suggested (ranging from €150,000 to €2,000,000 life cover) in the vast majority of cases, the groups suggested that John needs approximately double the level of cover that Mary does, being the sole income earner. Cover should be based on the financial loss that would be suffered, so once I explained that although John passing away would remove his income, if Mary passed away, John would have to either give up work (also removing his income) or have very high costs for the minding of 2 young children, as well as additional, potential costs associated with running the house, the groups then realised that the appropriate levels of cover should be about the same. So is that the reality for most couples?Obviously, there are many different family unit dynamics, one or both in paid employment, more or no children, one or both with pension and death benefits etc., and the important factor when arranging cover is to calculate the potential financial loss that could occur for your own specific circumstances. But I still see many examples that are still placing too low a value on a homemaker by not considering the financial loss that would occur in the event of that homemaker passing away. Have a look at your own levels of cover and see if this is something you need to review.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing info@financialcompanion.ie or use the contact form on www.financialcompanion.ie or phone 087-6414570, or @Davekav_advice on Twitter and Instagram. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial

By Siobhan O’Neill White

It’s not easy being a parent right now! Between home schooling and keeping the children entertained while they cannot mix with their friends, it is almost inevitable that tensions will run high. I know for me, every time one of my children comes into the kitchen, opens the fridge and proclaims that ‘There is nothing to eat in this house’ it feels like there is steam coming out of my ears. Heavens forbid, they would make themselves a sandwich! But no, that would require some effort and they would rather scoff a yoghurt or bag of popcorn because its easier. And I just know, if I wasn’t working from home in the kitchen, they would be searching for crisps and biscuits! When I feel myself getting very tense (shout out to all the Mammies who are nodding along right now!), I get my runners on and either go out for a walk, do an exercise DVD at home or if I am really lucky, have a bath and try to ignore the noise of them for half an hour. The thing is, I always feel better after taking some time out. For my husband, his release is spending half an hour on the playstation or reading his kindle. There is a lot of pressure on parents right now and if you feel yourself getting stressed, its ok to have a few minutes for yourself to unwind. Even if you have to bribe the kids to watch TV or to play a video game for a bit so you can read a magazine, do it. It will make you a calmer parent and will give them some relief from all the home schooling.I recently picked up a great little book called ‘Parenting in my pocket’ by Parenting Coach, Allen O’Donoghue. It has lots of parenting advice and tips and we have been dipping into it a lot; especially when Covid restrictions are high. With 20+ years experience, Allen also runs online courses to help parents deal with stressful situations at home. You can find out more at helpme2parent.ie.and if you feel like chatting with other parents to blow off some steam or have a natter, log on to free parenting website mams.ie.

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By Dave Kavanagh

I often review life cover plans that people have in place and realise that they have been set up wrong. Due to our very dated Capital Acquisition Tax laws, if an unmarried couple have a joint policy, in the event of a claim the survivor could be facing a large tax bill. This is because married couples can give or bequeath any value of assets without there being a tax liability. For a cohabiting couple, they are treated in the “strangers” bracket, which means (in the current tax year) after a threshold of €16,250, any balance is taxed at 33%. So if we take John & Mary as an example, who have a joint life policy with €250,000 life cover, in the event of John passing away, Mary will be paid out the policy proceeds but also now has a tax bill of €77,137.50. Is there any way to be exempt from this tax bill? - The correct advice when commencing cover for an unmarried couple, should be instead of setting up a joint plan, to set up two “life of another” plans. So John takes out a plan on Mary and pays the premiums and Mary takes out a plan on John and pays the premiums for that. When done this way, if the same as above happened and John passed away, Mary is deemed to have paid for the cover herself and so is not liable to pay any tax, meaning she receives the full €250,000 policy proceeds and no tax bill. It’s worth also noting that unmarried couples that buy a house together can face a similar problem if one of them passes away. The survivor that inherits the deceased’s share of the property may then be liable to pay tax on that portion of the property. There are ways to plan for this and to be exempt. If anyone is in either of these situations, please get in touch for advice.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing info@financialcompanion.ie or use the contact form on www.financialcompanion.ie or phone 087-6414570, or @Davekav_advice on Twitter and Instagram. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation. As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.